February 2019

Sex offender David McCrea alleged to have breached order by buying mobile phone two hours after release

A man allegedly breached a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by purchasing a new smartphone two hours after his release from custody, the High Court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutors claimed 39-year-old Richard David McCrea’s actions last week were part of a “disturbing pattern of behaviour”.

But defence lawyers argued that he bought the new phone to contact family on leaving prison because his old device was low on battery. McCrea, with a hostel address at Ventry Lane in Belfast, was refused bail.

The court was told he has been assessed as a category three sex offender.

He previously portrayed himself as a 17-year-old on social media in an attempt to contact and meet a young girl, according to the prosecution.

On February 13 McCrea received an 11-month prison sentence at Antrim Crown Court for a separate breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

But because of the length of time spent in custody on remand he was released at that stage.

One of the conditions was that he was not to obtain a new mobile phone without prior approval from his designated risk manager.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton claimed McCrea breached that within hours. “He immediately, on release, went to Tesco beside Antrim Courthouse and purchased an internet-enabled smartphone,” she said.

McCrea used the device to phone his risk manager the following day and confirmed what he had done, the court heard.

Ms Pinkerton stressed there was no suggestion he had used the phone to commit any offence.

But she argued: “While there hasn’t been any further contact with young people, it was two hours after release from custody that he’s gone to purchase a mobile phone after being expressly told not to.”

However, Mr Justice Huddleston refused bail “given the history of this applicant and risk of further offences”

2017: Now living in Dromore. Charged with meeting a female child that he allegedly groomed. Banned from social media

March 2009

Suspended term for breach of sex order

A LURGAN man who used mobile phones to contact two teenage girls in breach of a sexual harm order was given a suspended prison sentence at Craigavon court.

Twenty-nine-year-old Richard David McCrea, of Union Street, Lurgan, admitted that on December 10 he, being the subject of a Risk of Sexual Harm Order, without reasonable excuse had possession of two mobile phones, had access to the internet and also contacted two females under 17 years of age, acts he was prohibited from performing under the Order.

For this offence he was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for three years.

The court heard that police received information that McCrea had been using a mobile phone. He had purchased one in October and another in November.

A prosecutor said McCrea had used the phones to contact two females aged 15 and 16 and had access to the internet.

A Sexual Harm Order ran out last month and a new one for five years was put in place.

McCrea knew if he breached the order again he would go to prison.

District Judge, Mr Alan White, pointed out that the defendant had a previous conviciton for a similar offence and the report indicated he had a limited level of co-operation with probation.